Today marks 20 years since the Shakti Community Council was established in New Zealand. But what is Shakti and what does it do?

Shakti Ethnic women's support group central region was formerly known as Disha and founded by Kutu Mukuherjee in 2000.

Disha's primary objective was initially to connect migrant women in the Bay of Plenty.

It held coffee and networking mornings, but soon the team realised some women required more assistance, in the way of advocacy and access to services in the community.

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So in 2002 Shakti Community Council amalgamated with Disha to meet the different needs of migrant women in Bay of Plenty.

Now Shakti offers services to women in Bay of Plenty,Waikato and Rotorua regions, as Shakti Ethnic Women's Support Group Central Region.

Shakti Central provides the following services to ethnic women and their children:
Refuge services - safehouse services for
women and children victims of domestic
violence.
24-hour domestic violence crisis line.
Counselling and legal advocacy.
Information and immigration advocacy.
Life skills services, such as driving lessons and coffee sessions.

Of the average number of 90 women that Shakti Central helps every year, most of them are from Tauranga, Katikati and Te Puke.

Shakti's goalis to assist migrant and refugee families integrate within the New Zealand mainstream society harmoniously, taking into context the importance of acknowledging and operating in a multilingual and culturally appropriate environment.

This approach ensures the overall wellbeing of immigrants in New Zealand, which tends to improve their social and economic participation in the society.

Shakti Community Council will celebrate its 20th birthday in New Zealand today with a special celebration on at the Historic Village Hall between 4pm and 7pm.

The evening is a fundraiser - tickets are $10 which includes a light meal.

Celebrations are also being held nationally throughout this month.

For more information, contact Shakti Central on 579 0532 or drop into the office, Complex, 1 Historic Village.
The crisis line number is 0800 742 584.